The Congress Party chief Rahul Gandhi’s decision to contest the Lok Sabha election from Wayanad in Kerala, ruled by the Left Democratic Front (LDF) coalition, apart from Amethi — his ancestral seat — has irked the LDF’s leading partner CPI(M) and its allies, who were drooling for an alliance with the Grand Old Party along the 2004 UPA’s model of power sharing until a few weeks ago. The Congress’s decision to take on the CPI(M) in its last remaining bastion in India has sent a shiver down the spine of the ailing parliamentary left camp. Disarrayed by this sudden development, the CPI(M) Politbureau has been trying to downplay Mr Gandhi as a non-factor in Kerala.
Is this incident a warning sign from the right wing Congress that despite its nodding to periodic bonhomie with the pseudo-left opportunists against their common adversary BJP, it’s not going to allow the CPI(M) or the LDF a free run in Kerala, where the Congress is striving to retain the principal opposition’s position amid the rise of an aggressive BJP? The answer to the question can be found in the Congress Party’s historic anti-left standpoint. The Congress has been fighting the left ideologically and organisationally in India ever since Jawaharlal Nehru received the baton to rule the country from his British masters.
It’s the Congress that has been killing, maiming and jailing the communists since receiving power in 1947. The undivided Communist Party of India (CPI) was first banned in different provinces of India in 1948 by the Congress and its members were persecuted and mercilessly killed by the government forces as the party rightly called the “independence” as a sham one and called for a people’s democratic revolution.
When the first elected communist government was formed in Kerala in 1957, the Congress joined hands with the notorious Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), reactionary Catholic groups and the Brahminical Nair Service Society to oppose the CPI-led government and carry out sabotages. This unholy coalition against a democratically-elected communist government was funded by the CIA, and the Congress, which would later accuse its opponents of being CIA spies, didn’t show any dilemma while receiving funds from the CIA. Following the violence and agitation unleashed by the CIA-funded and Congress-led reactionary block in Kerala, the left’s present messiah Nehru dismissed the CPI-led government using brute force in 1959. The CPI leaders and activists were imprisoned several times, especially when the Nehru-led reactionary government attacked socialist China in 1962 at the behest of the US imperialism and Soviet revisionism.
Though the CPI later collaborated with the reactionary Congress under post-Stalin Moscow’s pressure, the latter’s repression on the revolutionary communists, from the Naxalbari rebellion that started in 1967 to the present-day Maoist movement, continues unabated. After splitting from the CPI citing ideological difference (actually the factional feud over power) the CPI(M) tried to act as an anti-Congress entity in the electoral front despite supporting the Congress and its leader Indira Gandhi on each crucial policy decisions like nationalisation of banks, mines, suppression of the Naxalbari movement or the military interference in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) at the behest of the Soviet social-imperialism. The CPI, on the other hand, nakedly collaborated with Mrs Gandhi’s party and government during the dark days of national emergency when the Congress and its government was running the juggernaut of fascist repression on the common people. It remained in coalition with the Congress even during the 1977 election, when Mrs Gandhi and the Congress were routed out for their excesses during the emergency period.
Soon after the demolition of the Babri Masjid, followed by the unbridled rise of the BJP in the parliamentary sphere, the formation of the first full-term non-Congress coalition government by BJP’s Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), and the unleashing of the monstrous Hindutva fascist juggernaut, powered by a neo-liberal economic engine, the CPI and the CPI(M) looked up to the Congress for rescue, and more than what the Grand Old Party did for itself, the CPI and the CPI(M) incessantly marketed the Congress as the hallmark of Indian secularism since 1999-2000. The continuous singing of paeans to appease the Congress brought the fruits of success for the parliamentary left, as the Congress allowed the CPI(M), on its own conditions, to join the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) formed to defeat the NDA in the 2004 Lok Sabha election.
After the BJP-led NDA was routed out in the 2004 election, the Congress sought the parliamentary left’s support to form a government. Even the support of the parliamentary opportunist left that never had any revolutionary inclination rather a strong pro-market and pro-capital approach didn’t please the neo-liberal economy’s masters. Big comprador capitalists didn’t like the coalition between the far-right Congress and the phoney lefts, as they were scared of growing trade union movements in India under the left’s patronage. Their opposition resulted into the stock market index falling and foreign capital’s bootlicker stock brokers protesting against the left on a street that’s ironically named Dalal Street (broker street), housing the brothel of Indian comprador and crony capitalism – the stock market.
Frightened by the anger of their masters, the CPI(M) stalwarts like Sitaram Yechury publicly announced the parliamentary left’s distance from the UPA government and only agreed to support it on a common minimum programme. When these parliamentary left parties became a liability for the Congress, especially when the former CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat and his coterie opposed the 123 Nuclear Treaty with the US, to hoodwink the masses into believing that the CPI(M) and the parliamentary left were anti-imperialist even though the Left Front government was unashamedly killing farmers in West Bengal’s Singur and Nandigram to pave way for big capital’s annexation of agricultural land, the Congress kicked them out and joined hands with the Samajwadi Party and other match fixers who offered support to the UPA I government in lieu of cash.
The divorce between the Congress and the CPI(M)-led parliamentary left made a room for then West Bengal opposition leader Mamata Banerjee to approach and form an alliance with the Congress to topple the Left Front regime in the state. She became a part of the UPA II regime and with the very Congress that the CPI(M) now calls its rescuer, toppled the Left Front in 2011 assembly election in West Bengal; the Congress even won the Kerala assembly election toppling VS Achuthanandan-led LDF that year. It’s doubted that Pinarayi Vijayan, the present CPI(M) chief minister of the state, played a crucial role in toppling his adversary Achuthanandan by helping the Congress secretly with organisational support.
Later, when the Congress broke its alliance with Banerjee in West Bengal due to her whimsical attitude and non-chalant behaviour towards the coalition partner, the CPI(M)-led Left Front started wooing the Congress for an alliance. Even though the CPI(M) cajoled the Congress to form an alliance against the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) during the 2016 assembly election in West Bengal, when the party was ironically fighting against Oommen Chandy-led Congress’s government in Kerala, the left was relegated to the third position in the state that it once ruled with an iron fist for 34 years, while the Congress, exploiting the vote bank of the CPI(M) and the Left Front members, rose to the position of the principal opposition party in the state. The CPI(M) and the Left Front can be given credit to help the Congress rejuvenate itself in 2016.
Now, when the Congress and the TMC are again coming closer on a national political arena, and Banerjee is keeping her options open to side with either the Congress or other non-Congress entities, excluding the parliamentary left, to form a non-BJP government in case Narendra Modi can’t win the 2019 Lok Sabha election, then at the same time, the CPI(M) is leaving no stones unturned to appease the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Chief Somen Mitra to join a league with it and replicate the 2016 model. The Congress has categorically refused to forge an alliance due to the CPI(M)-led Left Front’s virtual non-existence in West Bengal, however, the CPI(M) and the other impactless constituents of the Left Front are still hopeful that the right wing party will help them fight the crucial election against the TMC and the BJP. Then came the Wayanad shocker.
Mr Gandhi’s decision to fight election from Kerala, where the Congress and the BJP have openly joined hands over the Sabarimala row, shows that the Congress is straightforward about its anti-left standpoint. By supporting the RSS’s reactionary standpoint on the Sabarimala row, the Congress had already endorsed the overwhelming Hindutva fascist ideology that has a great influence on the upper-caste Hindus of Kerala, and with the help of the reactionary IUML, SDPI, etc, the Congress is hoping to win the majority of seats in the southern state. Even the BJP’s principal enemy in Kerala is the CPI(M)-led LDF regime, as winning a majority in Kerala, or even increasing its poll tally will immensely help the BJP to motivate its cadre base ideologically and to also show the vulnerability of the parliamentary left in the last corner of India where it’s running its social-fascist shop. A defeat of the parliamentary opportunist and phoney left to the BJP’s electoral juggernaut can be projected by the Hindutva fascist camp and its flatterer lackey media houses as a defeat of “communism” to demoralise the Indian working class and peasantry fighting for a total and radical revolutionary transformation of the society.
Irrespective of what the CPI(M) or its parliamentary left allies say, the Congress or any other parliamentary party can’t build up any genuine resistance against the RSS-BJP’s Hindutva fascist juggernaut. Their secularism is fluid and opportunist; it will eventually take any shape according to the demand of the electorate or the peculiar situation of a constituency. Such parties, like the Congress, will always appease the upper-caste Hindu feudal landlords, big crony-comprador capitalists, and foreign monopoly and finance capital to win and consolidate power. They will never dislodge the parasitic feudal-comprador nexus, never fight for the rights of the minorities, the Dalits, tribal people and the marginalised sections, and, as former BJP leader Arun Shourie accuses, the Congress rule will be the BJP without a cow. Even in the economic domain, the Congress follows the same World Bank and IMF-prescribed neo-liberal economic policy to ensure that India remains the haven of foreign imperialist loot and plunder. Under the Congress’s rule, the same crony-comprador capitalists and big feudal landlords and usurers flourish, who also flourish during the reign of the BJP.
Even the CPI(M) and its parliamentary left allies don’t differ from the Congress in unconditionally subscribing to the neo-liberal economic doctrine. The bloody experience of the CPI(M)-led Left Front government’s brutal suppression of peasants’ agitation in Singur, Nandigram and the tribal uprising in Lalgarh, are stark reminders of this fact. Whenever and wherever the CPI(M) led parliamentary left block has got the chance to rule, it has unleashed a social-fascist tyranny and a reign of terror to suppress the masses. Occasionally, the CPI(M) and other parliamentary lefts led by it, would use Marxist jargons and clichés to hoodwink the masses, but in the core, they will remain as reactionary as the Congress or the BJP.
Today, to free themselves from the yoke of Hindutva fascist rule and its sclerotic rule, the people must rise up and unite under the banner of the progressive, revolutionary and anti-revisionist left, which wouldn’t barter their cause for power in the parliamentary setup, rather use the people’s power to bring real, revolutionary and drastic transformation in India’s socio-economic and political spheres. It’s only under the leadership of a revolutionary, farsighted and progressive left block that the toiling masses can defeat their common enemies like feudalism, big comprador and crony capitalism, and the domination of big foreign monopoly and finance capital.
In their pursuit of liberation from these enemies, the working class-led common people will find the Congress opposing them as bitterly as the BJP, and in many occasions, the CPI(M)’s opposition to such a revolutionary bandwagon will surpass the viciousness and macabre nature exemplified the official right wings. Harping hopes on either the parliamentary left or the Congress or other so-called secular-democratic parties for a rescue from the Hindutva fascist tyranny is going to cause bigger damage to the people’s cause than anything else. It’s time to build up a revolutionary left union to bring a real, effective, distinguishing and sustainable change in Indian politics. Bye bye, CPI(M). Your fight against the BJP riding Mr Gandhi’s shoulders is as much a travesty as is his fight against the BJP from Kerala’s Wayanad.